This post is nine years in the making. This post also contains the video and pictures of Aurelia getting pierced.
A long long time ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth…err wait. No, not that long ago. More like back when Aurelia was a baby. So like 9 years ago not a hundred million years ago. Anyway, so back when I first became a mother I started to tap into that mothering instinct thing that I based many parenting decisions on which so also happened to be back by research and shit. One area that I had to make a decision about was ear piercing.
I’m not gonna lie, my first reaction was something along the lines of me not having any desire to clean and care for another area of her body that just really didn’t need to be cared for. I was struggling enough with becoming a new mommy, moving from the upper portion of the US back down to Texas, trying to find a place to live, looking for job, and figuring it all out that I couldn’t imagine adding another thing to my plate.
I did more research over time to figure out why my instinct as a mother said abso-effing-no to ear piercing her as an infant. After all, many parents do this, care for it just fine, don’t bat an eye, and everyone seems unfazed by it maybe because it is just such a common ritual practiced here. Getting a baby girl’s ears pierced seemed as common and unmindful practice as infant male circumcision. Why was I questioning this?
This was also the beginning of my research as to why I was starting to question every common and mainstream parenting choice. I was curious why I was rebelling against the norm. Something in me said, “What a minute. Let’s think about this decision before we do it. Why does our culture do this? Is it necessary? Is it helpful?” I questioned everything from formula, diapers, food, pediatricians, household chemicals, baby sleep, pacifiers, etc. (Note: This was back in 2005 when I was so in the closet about my choices because they were NOT trendy like they are now and I got A LOT of criticism from family and friends so many things I just opted not to reveal about how we parented to avoid the ridicule and judgment about my ability as a mother.)
Back to ear piercing and tattoo parlors. I did research on this. Many many parents walk into a FREE EAR PIERCING WITH A THE PURCHASE OF EARRINGS type places that are full of glittery girly goo where the employee who is selling you bedazzled purses is also using a gun that’s been used and impossible to properly sanitize to pierce the revolving door of people who come to get a quick piercing. It’s so common. Everyone does it. Plus there’s lots of glitter. Who doesn’t trust glitter and sequins?!?! These franchises have been around for awhile. It must be safe. I completely understand why it is trusted. It’s easy to trust a brick and mortar brand name that’s been around for a while and you’ve not heard of them having lawsuits brought against them in the media. And most of the time it turns out ok. I mean you hear about the cases when it gets infected, the hole isn’t complete, a hole is off center, it has to be redone later on, etc. But for the most part in the end it’s ok.
Of course me being me, I researched the alternative. Having a professional piercer or pediatrician pierce a kid’s ears. Years ago pediatricians used to pierce ears. There seems to be a resurgence of this practice coming back into pediatrician’s offices. There is the cost factor, wait time for an appt, and the unnecessary exposure to an unwell population for a piercing. Also, if the nurses are the ones handing needles and poking holes in children when they give shots, why is a pediatrician the one putting holes in the ears? Would a nurse be more qualified for this? For me it seemed that when the time came, and only if my children wanted it, you see, for me it absolutely HAD to be their choice, we would find a professional piercer to do it. (Each state varies on the certification requirements.)
When Aurelia was seven she started talking about maybe wanting to get her ears pierced. We discussed it and I let her watch piercing videos of kids getting their ears pierced with a gun and kids getting pierced with a needle with a professional piercer. Around age eight she gathered the courage to go. We were out and about one day and drove by a tattoo and piercing place. We walked in to ask questions about minors and this particular place did not pierce minors. At the time I didn’t realize that there were places who wouldn’t pierce minors even with parental consent. This alone got me thinking more about how serious professional piercers take piercing version the glitter and sequin franchise stores who will gladly use the gun on anyone. Off to do more research.
Life got busy and I knew that the square footage available in tattoo and piercing shops are limited, both Sal and I wanted to be there when she got it done, and we have four kids. This dynamic doesn’t make it easy to just walk into a place with sharp needles with a handful of kids who have no idea how still and patient they will need to be during a procedure like this. It would just be too stressful on everyone involved. There is no need to make the people getting and giving piercing and tattoos nervous with needles in their hands with kids running in the shop. So we opted for a better time when it didn’t feel like having to herd cats into a bag while we did this.
Aurelia turned nine last month and this is the first time we’ve had an opportunity to do this since then due to the current status of our six and four year old staying at grandma’s house in San Antonio. We only have two children right now to manage in a tattoo shop. Way easier.
I was now charged with finding a place that would pierce a minor. I did a quick google search and found reviews from places that said they pierced minors. I called a few and some flat out said no despite reviewers saying they did, some said the minor needed to be at least 13 for an earlobe piercing, and a very select few said they’d pierce a minor’s earlobes and only with a birth certification and parent IDs verifying she was our child. We brought the necessary requirements. Aurelia was super excited about this. All she could seem to say was, “FINALLY!!”
We are on week two of caring for the piercing and she seems to be managing the cleaning three times a day just fine by herself. The piercings look good and uninfected. There is a salt water cleaning regimen that is done and I added some essential oils and a carrier oil to aid in the turning and further cleaning of the area. Aurelia said that the oils help her turn the posts without pain versus turning them without the oils.
All is well. She is very happy with her choice to get her ears pierced and looks forward to putting other earrings in her ears once the surgical steel ones can be removed after the completion of the healing process. For her, age nine seemed to be a good age to do this. She is at the stage of needing me less for hygiene and starting to care for herself more. Her path may have been a little different than the norm, but nine years later, this baby girl has her ears pierced!